October 26, 2020 4 min read
This photo was taken on September 26th of this year. 7 days after our embryo transfer that I had to go to alone due to COVID. We have another photo like this from Summer 2017.
I think this one was the least painful. It was what is called a “chemical pregnancy” which I hadn’t experienced before. Our first positive tests resulted in an embryo that stopped growing at 9 weeks. We were unable to get pregnant again for two years, until we did IVF. Our second positive test resulted in our daughter. This was the third time we saw two pink lines.
My embryos are made from 27 year old eggs, we had our retrieval just before my 28th birthday. We had them PGS tested, even though it was very optional considering we were both young and healthy with no history of genetic disorders. We wanted to do everything possible in our power to avoid the possibility of losing another baby. We froze 7 high quality embryos. We knew those didn’t equate to 7 healthy babies one day, but I’d be lying if I said I pushed that thought out of my mind and expected them all to “work”.
When we had our viability scan with our daughter, the doctor offered to tell us the gender. We weren’t ready to know right away; even after seeing a strong heartbeat and perfectly dated embryo. She wrote it down in an envelope and sealed it up. The envelope sat in the glove box of the car for 10 more weeks. We weren’t ready to get even more attached than we already were. At one point my husband asked me to stop saying “if I’m pregnant”, or “if we have the baby”, this was around 20 weeks.
We began to let our guard down. We put up wallpaper in the nursery. We had a baby shower. I still never posted a pregnancy announcement on social media. I still felt sick to my stomach seeing them during pregnancy.
It got better, though. I stopped being angry at everyone who got pregnant accidentally. I stopped being bitter when it was easier for others. I stopped judging them for being excited at 5 weeks. Just because that was taken from me, doesn’t mean others don’t deserve happiness. Plus, we actually HAD a baby now, and she is perfect. Things were better.
I lost 40lbs after our daughter was born. I was happy, and I wasn’t being pumped full of hormones anymore. And I wasn’t sadness-eating after every negative test, anymore. The doctor was thrilled, since obesity can make getting pregnant harder. I am now well within the normal BMI, giving us an even better shot.
As we prepped for our second embryo transfer, I wasn’t nervous, I didn’t cry - I was happy. I was excited. I joked and asked the embryologist and reproductive endocrinologist if they could put the same kind of magic into this embryo that they put into the first. I told them how wonderful our daughter is, and how much we appreciated everything they had done for us.
I smiled and laughed with the nurses who put warm towels on my legs and adjusted my feet in the stirrups. I looked excitedly at the ultrasound as they placed the thawed embryo in the perfect spot. I was alone this time, due to COVID-19. I really liked having my husband in there with me last time. But even that couldn’t bring me down. We were going to have another baby, I told myself.
I took a pregnancy test on what would have been 10 days past ovulation (using a little math considering the embryo was already 5 days old). My husband was on a conference call when I saw the two pink lines. I sat the test on his desk and did a little dance around the room.
I told him later that night that I needed a foot rub, because I had been pregnant all of 7 hours, and it was exhausting. We laughed. Our baby would have a due date of June 6th. It didn’t even seem that far away.
I messaged the nurse at our Fertility Clinic, and she said to retake the test in a few days as that was the date they had given me - 14 days past ovulation. I messaged again “still pregnant :)”
And I guess I was still pregnant. But like anyone who’s ever dealt with miscarriage or infertility, one test (or two) isn’t enough.
I had a million excuses for myself as to why the tests weren’t getting any darker.
It’s unreliable, a line is a line
My pee was super light this morning
These other tests I got on Amazon are faulty
It’s still too early to see a dark line
A few days later I tried another digital test. This time it said no. I knew what had happened, but my husband still had hope.
My HCG when I went in for bloodwork was 18.5. I wanted it to be low. I wanted to stop taking the hormones and doing the injections. I didn’t want to keep tricking my body into thinking there was a viable embryo growing inside of me. The doctor gave me the option to stop taking the medications, or retest my HCG in two days. I didn’t want to re-test. There’s no point in dragging this out, I told her. She agreed.
We mourned all evening, into the night. We ordered a late dinner but I couldn’t manage to eat anything. I got a few winks of sleep. 24 hours later I was able to have a meal. The next day I was able to laugh and smile with my daughter. I slept through the night about a week later. Things began getting back to normal.
Keeping pregnancy a secret is controversial.
This time, I’ve decided my stance. I’m sick of telling people “it didn’t work out”, after sharing the happy news. I also have a bad habit of downplaying how awful I’m doing, in order to avoid talking about it. Unless you’ve been through it - you will struggle with what to say. No one has yet to try a simple “I’m here for you”.